The hashtag #BoycottRachelRiley began trending after the Countdown host spoke out against anti-Semitism and Holocaust deniers.
Rachel Riley – who describes herself as a “non-religious Jew” – has been targeted by racists after speaking out against the Labour Party and leader Jeremy Corbyn for failing to address the issue of anti-Semitism among his supporters.
“My genuine worries are that antisemitism is spreading and being actively promoted among some in the hard-left due to JC’s [Jeremy Corbyn’s] words/actions/inactions,” the Countdown star said last September. “I hope I’m wrong but many replies I’ve had tonight suggest perhaps not.”
Since then, Riley has been subjected to abuse online, and has most recently become the victim of a #BoycottRachelRiley campaign on Twitter.
She has, however, received messages of support from many – including comedians David Baddiel and Katherine Ryan.
“Rachel Riley is a member of an ethnic minority calling out racism vs that minority,” tweeted Baddiel.
“For the crank left to start a #BoycottRachelRiley hashtag, something they’d never do to a member of any other minority, is just an example of how, as far as they’re concerned, #JewsDontCount.”
“Being looped in with Rachel on social media provides a harrowing insight into the disgusting vitriol and VERY REAL anti-Semitism she and people of Jewish faith experience,” Ryan tweeted.
“I absolutely stand with her and against that.”
Moved by the message, Riley responded: “Literally just burst into tears reading that. Thanks Katherine.”
The Board of Deputies of British Jews has since said the hashtag “tells you just about everything you need to know about these people.
“Racists and racism-apologists, attacking a Jewish woman for speaking out against anti-Semitism.”
And Dave Rich, head of policy at the Community Security Trust added: “#BoycottRachelRiley is what happens when you speak up about antisemitism.
“It’s a double punch: first the antisemitism, then the bullying to shut you up. Except they should have realised by now, @RachelRileyRR will not shut up, nor will I and nor should anyone else #BeLouder.”
The boycott comes just months after Riley revealed that she had been forced to hire extra security at work in response to the waves of abuse she has received online.
“The more I speak, the more abuse I get, and the more abuse I get, the more I speak,” she told The Times. “It’s got to the point where I can’t look at my Twitter feed any more… it’s just a constant stream.”
“We are getting more security for Countdown,” she added.
However, while Riley has been left shaken by the response to her speaking up, she has vowed to continue doing so.
“Sometimes I think it’s important to speak up even so,” she said. “If moderates don’t, all that’s left are the others.”